The Content Strategist’s Reading List
Break out your reading lists, content strategists. You’re going to want to add these titles to your to-read pile.
I recently asked Twitter, “What books should be on a content strategist’s bookshelf?” My notifications blew up. It was exciting … and overwhelming. My solution was to make a big list, then sleep with it under my pillow in the hopes that I would magically osmose all the knowledge without having to buy everything.
But, who are we kidding—I already own a lot of these, and my Amazon cart was soon sagging under the weight of the rest of them. Books are good.
I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed—folks had terrific suggestions that included content strategy classics, hot-off-the-press works, and a solid set of inspiring books that have shaped perspectives and purpose.
And so, presented here in alphabetical order, is this crowd-sourced list of books every content strategist should have on their bookshelves—or Kindle—or phone—or whatever. Living in the future is complicated.
This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good start. Please feel free to include more suggestions in the comments. You can print a version of this list, too. Enjoy!
The content strategist’s reading list
Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag
Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content by James Mathewson, Frank Donatone, and Cynthia Fishel
Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook by Paula Ladenburg Land
Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through High-Quality Web Content by Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton
Content Design by Sarah Richards
Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Content Management Bible by Bob Boiko
Content Strategy at Work: Real-World Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project by Margot Bloomstein
Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane
Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach
Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits by Rahel Anne Bailie and Noz Urbina
Conversational Design by Erika Hall
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Designing Connected Content: Plan and Model Digital Products for Today and Tomorrow by Mike Atherton and Carrie Hane
Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors by Michelle Carey, Moira McFadden Lanyi, Deirdre Longo, Eric Radzinski, Shannon Rouiller, and Elizabeth Wilde
Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide by Kevin Nichols
Everyday Information Architecture by Lisa Maria Martin
Global Content Strategy: A Primer by Val Swisher
Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld, and Jorge Arango
Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal
Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Brand by Gerry McGovern
Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works by Janice (Ginny) Redish
Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design by Lisa Welchman
Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy by Ann Rockley
Metadata Basics for Web Content: The Unification of Structured Data and Content by Michael C. Andrews
Microcopy: The Complete Guide by Kinneret Yifrah
Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee
On Change Management (HBR’s 10 Must Reads series) by Harvard Business Review, John P. Kotter, W. Chan Kim, and Renée A. Mauborgne
On Strategy (HBR’s 10 Must Reads series) by Harvard Business Review, Michael E. Porter, W. Chan Kim, and Renée A. Mauborgne
Outside-In Marketing: Using Big Data to Guide Your Content Marketing by James Mathewson and Mike Moran
Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals by Peter Morville
Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne
Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks
Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky
Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden
The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web by Ahava Leibtag
The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White
The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse James Garrett
The Language of Content Strategy by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie
The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love by Donna Lichaw and Eva-Lotta Lamm (Illustrator)
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
Web Content Management: Systems, Features, and Best Practices by Deane Barker
Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One by Rachel McConnell
Writing for Designers by Scott Kubie
Kristina Halvorson is widely recognized as one of the most important voices in content strategy and UX. She is the owner of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy; the author of Content Strategy for the Web; the host of The Content Strategy Podcast; and the founder of the popular Confab and Button conferences. Kristina speaks worldwide about the importance of content strategy, educating and inspiring audiences across every industry. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her two fantastic teens.